Please find below the text of Alison Saunders’ Open Morning speech from Saturday 23rd September 2017 along with links for the text of the Head Girl and Head Boy speeches.


Good morning and a warm welcome to Simon Balle All-through School.

The purpose of this talk is to give you all a “flavour” of our school and what it is like to be a student here. I will not be giving out key information as this can be found on our website, nor describing everything we do. Many of you know of our reputation from friends or other parents, or you can ask today or visit over the next few weeks.

Simon Balle is more than a school. It is a living, vibrant community.

We speak of this as our “home”- a place where we belong, working alongside like-minded people. This is illustrated by an email sent to me by one of our students:

“Dear Mrs. Saunders

I would just like to say thank you. Without you accepting me into the school I would never have had these opportunities. The school that you have made is not just any other school. It is like a home. I speak for so many students- this place has opened up many doors for so many personalities”

It is therefore a highly successful learning community- more than a school – indeed a way of life, bought into by so many parents, students and staff.

So why is Simon Balle All through school so successful? Why do so many families want to be part of this exciting community?

  • We are so highly successful because…

Like a home we have very clear beliefs and values.

Everyone is known personally for who they are and what they bring.

Difference and diversity are treasured and celebrated.

Our values are traditional values. We speak of honesty, truthfulness, kindness and hard work.

As one of our youngest children wrote to me last year when they were in year 1

“Thank you for always coming to talk to me and for looking after the whole school. You are amazing!”

  • We are so highly successful because…

We set the very highest expectations – from reception to year 13 and for everyone.

Our House Rules are simple. We expect all of our students to:

  • Always work to the best of their ability and indeed push beyond
  • Dress well
  • Be polite and show respect

Our students understand that if these simple rules are broken there are sanctions and consequences.

  • We are so highly successful because…

Learning is at the heart of our community. Academic results are very high. Last year Simon Balle All-through School was in the top 5% of school nationally for the progress students make. This year our results are even stronger!

Despite the changes in grades this year for English and Maths, our students performed exceptionally well gaining more top grade 9s than nationally.

Results and progress are equally strong throughout the school from reception to year 13.

And this is across the board in all subjects- science, maths, languages, PE, English, humanities to name a few!

  • We are so highly successful here at Simon Balle because…

Our curriculum is broad and balanced, enabling all students to maintain an all-round curriculum, including the arts until the end of year 9. And students continue to study these in Key Stage 4 and 5, bucking national trends.

  • We are so highly successful at Simon Balle because…

No student is ever written off!! We always go the extra mile as we care passionately about the success and wellbeing of all of our students. We stretch the most able and support those who struggle. All do well all take academic subjects. Boys and girls.

And the evidence is clear- look at the results- progress is incredibly strong if not outstanding!

And it is not just about academic success.

There is a vast range of opportunities on offer- follow and develop a passion!

Chess club, science week, art and drama, food, debating clubs and the library and sport- competitive and individual.

I trust that you have been amazed to see our huge number of trophies and cups. We are now known locally as a very sporty school.

Music is perhaps the jewel in our crown – look at the website and read of our reputation. From performing at Ronnie Scotts and the international Ghent Music Festival, to civic dinners, school concerts and more.

  • We are so highly successful at Simon Balle because…

We expect all of our students to attend every day.

We expect our parents to support us and work with us.

We expect our students to think of others both within school (many act as academic mentors, sports leaders) and outside (helping with lunches for the elderly, raising money for various charities)

  • And so we are so successful because…

We are innovative and forward thinking. It is our aim and vision to “Create tomorrow’s citizens today” and this is a demanding task, as the world is fragile and ever changing.

We need to teach our young people to use technologies, use them safely and to ensure that they are resilient, live balanced lives and are flexible in approach. Character building is so important here.

And to end before I hand over the our two students,

Returning to my original theme: Home. Maya Angelou said:

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned”

And the African proverb- “It takes a whole village to educate a child”

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls:

This is the Simon Balle way, the Simon Balle vision and the Simon Balle All-through community.


Let us hear next from our Head Girl, Molly and Head Boy, Harry of their journey and experiences here. How Simon Balle is leaving its imprint and shaping their lives.

Please click on the images of the students to see the text of their speeches